The cost of food – Butter is beautiful, but lard is also lovely. And so are gingersnaps.

Christmas is over for another year.  One of my favorite Christmas activities is Christmas baking but I didn’t do as much this year as I usually would. What slowed me down this year was the cost of ingredients, specifically the cost of butter. Continue reading


Making Salsa using Canned Tomatoes

Salsa header


Tasty and affordable tomatoes and peppers are not always available year round.  I picked up several tins of tomatoes for a dollar each a few months ago and a few cans of tomato paste. The other day in Extra Foods I came across these:

Peppers on sale Peppers around here are prohibitively expensive when they are not in season.  I grabbed these and dug out a recipe I had from many years ago.


Recipe card

You can tell a successful recipe by how messy the recipe card is.

This recipe makes a small quantity of fairly mild salsa.  It works for the two of us and should carry us through until tomatoes and peppers are in season and on sale. The recipe can be found here:

Recipe for salsa using canned tomatoes




Salsa ingrediantsTo make this salsa, you will need the following:

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) of canned tomatoes. One liter of home canned tomatoes would work very well.
  • 2 cans (7.5 ounces each) of tomato paste. It seems that tomato paste is the victim of size inflation.  My tomato paste was 6 ounces.  It worked fine.
  • 1 Red Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Green Peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tsp coarse pickling salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I used 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (I used 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 to 1 tsp Cayenne pepper. I used two chili peppers dried from last year’s garden.  I removed the seeds from one pepper.
Cooking in the pot

Salsa cooking is so colourful and pretty.

Combine all the ingredients into a heavy pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Get the water boiling in your canner and sterilize at least 4 pint sized jars.

After 1 1/2 hours, fill sterilized jars, add lids and rings, and place in canner for 15 minutes.

Remove to a draft free location to cool for 24 hours. Check seals and label

I ended up with 4 pints to add to my pantry.

The approximate cost for this salsa breaks down as follows:

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) of canned tomatoes bought on sale = $1.00×2 = $2.00
  • 2 cans (7.5 ounces each) of tomato paste = $0.62X2 = $1.24
  • 1 Red Pepper bought on sale = $0.43
  • 2 Green Peppers bought on sale = $2.58
  • 2 cups onions (about 2) = $1.38
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar = about $0.31 for the name brand stuff
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar = about $0.03 cause Buy-Low has sugar on sale right now for $9.98 for 10kg. There are about 64 tablespoons in each kg of sugar. In case you were wondering.
  • 2 tsp pickling salt = negligible.
  • 1 tsp garlic powder = $0.05.  I bought a large container from No Frills last year for about $3.00. Its still going strong. Looking at prices from other retailers, the price of garlic powder averages about $0.01 per gram.
  • 1 tsp orgegano = free, dried from last year’s garden
  • 2 chili peppers = free, dried from last year’s garden

Total = about $8.00 for 4 pints, or $2.00 a jar.

Not bad considering it is on sale for about $4.00 a pint.  I was surprised that the most expensive ingredient was the green peppers, even though they were on sale.  I’m glad we planted some in the garden.  Using home-grown green peppers would drop the price to $5.44 for 4 pints, or $1.36 a jar. The salsa itself is satisfactory, if you like a mild, not too chunky salsa. I ended up with 4 pints plus a little extra, which I used for this recipe: Crockpot Salsa Chicken. Even though we thickened the sauce for the Crockpot Salsa Chicken with corn starch it was very good and it passed The Man Test (meaning the man liked it and will take it for lunch the next day).

Salsa ready for the pantry

Salsa ready for the pantry